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The purpose of this assessment is to better understand your personality, preferences and habits so that meditation practices which best suite your lifestyle can be recommended.

Circle one response for each statement that best aligns to your answer for each statement.

CATEGORY 1 CATEGORY 2 CATEGORY 3
I enjoy social events. Sometimes No Yes
I have a hard time sitting still. Never Sometimes Always
I hold on to thoughts and emotions. Always Frequently Seldom
I do not have much spare time. Sometimes Seldom Frequently
I like intuitive approaches to activities. Yes Sometimes No
I want to build/increase my physical strength. Never Rarely Yes
I prefer to spend a quiet day at home alone. Sometimes Definitely Not at All
I have difficulties with mobility. Definitely Sometimes Seldom
I exercise to reduce stress and decompress. Rarely Sometimes Often
I like taking my time. Frequently Always Seldom
I like being guided through activities. Sometimes Never Frequently
I possess inner strength. Rarely Often Sometimes
Total ________ ________ ________

 

Option 1: If your score was highest in Category 1, your preference is towards guided meditation without movement. Examples include guided visualization and mindfulness meditation.

If you like being guided through activities, guided visualization meditation groups may suit you. Studies have shown social networks and direct support increases overall health, ranging from reduced risks in coronary heart disease, hypertension and mortality to improved psychological and emotional well-being (Belding, Howard, McGuire, Schwartz, & Wilson, 2010; Stewart, Gabriele, & Fisher, 2012). Guided visualization can be practiced in a group setting or alone. Relax and allow your imagination to take you on a stress-reducing journey as you are guided through a series of visualizations.

To help you better understand and begin your practice of guided visualization meditation, here are some useful resources:

  1. Academy for Guided Imagery (AGI): Find an imagery guide, courses and workshops, training and research studies/publications.
  2. 5 Guided Imagery Exercises: Whether you’re in need of strength, a safe haven, or affirmations, these guided visual meditations will help you.
  3. Do Yoga With Me: Ranging from 5 to 51 minutes, take a walk through nature, heal pain, expand your mind, or sink into sleep with these guided visualizations.

If you are looking to build inner strength or let go of thoughts and emotions, mindfulness meditation might be for you. Mindfulness meditation is about focusing on the breath as a means of finding awareness to stay connected to the here and now, non-judgmentally. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to decrease levels of stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain associated with arthritis, the back and neck, and symptoms of insomnia (Bonura, 2011; Campbell & Moore, 2004). Additionally, you can experience the benefits with as little as 10 minutes of this practice. Mindfulness meditation can be practiced in the comfort of your own home, while on travel, within a group setting or alone.

To help you better understand and begin your practice of mindfulness meditation, here are a few resources:

  1. All it takes is 10 minutes: Andy Puddicome, TEDSalon London Fall 2012.
  2. Guided Mindfulness Meditation: Practices with Jon Kabat-Zinn.
  3. Chopra Center Guided Meditations: Listen online or download for your convenience.
  4. UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center: Free guided mindfulness meditations.
  5. Do Yoga With Me Ranging from 15 to 23 minutes, learn as you are guided through breathing techniques, sitting postures and metta (or loving kindness) meditation.

 

Option 2:

If your score was highest in Category 2, your preference is towards meditation without guidance or movement. Examples include mantra meditation and pranayama (controlled breathing) meditation.

If you prefer being in a quiet environment, incorporating mantra meditation may suit you. Mantra meditation has been shown to increase cognition skills and memory, and promote the relaxation response (Engström, Pihlsgård, Lundberg, & Söderfeldt, 2010), in addition to reducing anxiety disorders (Ospina, et al., 2008). Allow yourself to experience a deeper awareness through the silent repetition of a word or sound, as you disconnect from your thoughts and stresses and build upon or deepen your inner strength.

To better understand and begin your practice of mantra meditation, here are some useful resources:

  1. What is a Mantra? Chopra Center Meditation.
  2. OMHARMONICS: Simple, Profound Meditation Mantras.
  3. The Mantra Meditation: Michelle Nielson explains mantra meditation and guides you through a sample.

If you are looking for a simple, time-efficient practice, learning pranayama may suit you. Pranayama is one of three techniques practiced in yoga that focuses solely on the breath; there is no movement. Slow deep breathing practices have been shown to reset the nervous system, reduce psychological and pulmonary disorders, and improve mood, cardiovascular function, overall health and fitness (Kumar, 2013; Wilson et al., 2012).

To better understand and begin your practice of pranayama, here are some useful resources:

  1. How to Do Pranayama: 6 Ways to do breathing techniques.
  2. Diaphragmatic Breathing Pranayama: Kavita Maharaj teaches diaphragmatic breathing.
  3. Petite Retreats: Renewing Body, Mind, and Spirit without Leaving Home.
  4. Ujayi Breathing: Let Go of Stress, Catch your Breath.

 

Option 3: If your score was highest in Category 3, your preference is towards meditation that incorporates movement. Examples include yoga, Qigong (pronounced Chi Kung) and tai chi.

If increasing your physical strength and improving flexibility interests you, yoga may suit you. Yoga has been shown to contribute towards weight loss, reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, improve immune system function, increase muscular and cardiovascular benefits, and establish a spiritual component of well-being (Smith, Greer, Sheets, & Watson, 2011). Though there are many, common practices of yoga include Hatha (Inyengar, Kripalu, Anusara, Bikram), Vinyasa (Ashtanga, Power), and Restorative/Yin.

To better understand which practice would serve you, here are a few resources:

  1. Yoga Style Guide: Yoga U.
  2. Yoga Journal: Learn poses, basics, practice and access to the biggest article collection.
  3. GaiamLife: Yoga answers and solutions go-to guide.
  4. YogaToday: Online yoga classes, free options, with over 200 full-length classes.

If mobility is a concern or you’re looking for a rehabilitation practice, Qigong or tai chi may suit you. Qigong and tai chi have been shown to reduce feelings of chronic pain, arthritis, hypertension, dizziness, and anxiety, in addition to its use towards rehabilitation in chronic disease (Leung & Singhal, 2004). Qigong focuses both internally, which incorporates visualization along with meditation and breathing; and externally, which includes meditation in combination with slow movements. For this reason it is considered the ultimate of all martial arts (Chen, 2011). Tai chi focuses more on movement, and when performed at a fast pace, serves as a form of self-defense.

To better understand and begin your practice of Qigong or tai chi, here are a few resources:

  1. From BodyWisdom’s QiGong For Beginners (with 8 Routines): Interview & First 2 Pieces of Brocade (Youtube video).
  2. Energy Arts: Qigong: The Fundamentals.
  3. Energy Arts: Learn Tai Chi for Health, Energy and Well-being.
  4. The National Qigong Association: What is Qigong?

Works Cited

Belding, J. N., Howard, M. G., McGuire, A. M., Schwartz, A. C., & Wilson, J. H. (2010). Social Buffering by God: Prayer and Measures of Stress. Journal of Religious Health, 49, 179-187.

Bonura, K. B. (2011). The Psychological Benefits of Yoga Practice for Older Adults: Evidence and Guidelines. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 21, 129-142.

Campbell, D. E., & Moore, K. A. (2004). Yoga as a Preventative and Treatment for
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 14, 53-58.

Chen, Z. (2011, SPRING). Mind-Body Medicine. Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health, pp. 44-47.

Engström, M., Pihlsgård, J., Lundberg, P., & Söderfeldt, B. (2010). Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Hippocampal Activation During Silent Mantra Meditation. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(12), 1253-1258.

Kumar, S. P. (2013). Physiological and Therapeutic Effects of Pranayama and Yogic
Breathing in Health and Disease: A Focused Update. Indian Journal of Ancient Medicine &Yoga, 6(3), 105-114.

Leung, Y., & Singhal, A. (2004). An Examination of the Relationship Between Qigong Meditation and Personality. Social Behavior and Personality, 32(4), 313-320.

Ospina, M. B., Bond, K., Karkhaneh, M., Buscemi, N., Dryden, D. M., Barnes, V., et al. (2008). Clinical Trials of Meditation Practices in Health Care: Characteristics and Quality. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(10), 1199-1213.

Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(1), 3-12.

Smith, A. J., Greer, T., Sheets, T., & Watson, S. (2011). Is There More to Yoga Tahn Exercise? Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 17(3), 22-29.

Stewart, D. W., Gabriele, J. M., & Fisher, E. B. (2012). Directive support, nondirective support, and health behaviors in a community sample. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 35,492-499.

Wilson, T. B. (2013). Relaxation Breathing Improves Human Glycemic Response. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(7), 633-636.

Establishing a Mind/Body Connection: Choosing a meditation plan for your lifestyle
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